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Mario Moore

Artist 73 Mario Moore Recovery Silver Point drawing

Mario Moore (1987) is a Detroit native artist who specializes in realism dealing with subject matter of black male identity. Moore questions whether, given the stereotypes, injustice, and economic and social pressures they face, black men can ever completely relax.

His work is complex and creates psychological transactions between himself in the positions of artist, subject and viewer through contemporary interpretations of black male identity and the history of Western painting, specifically Baroque European Realism.

He drawing attention to the lack of depiction of the Black narratives. His artworks expands upon this history of painting by talking about issues and concepts that are connected to his personal experiences and those who are close to him.

It wasn’t until the artist had brain surgery that a singular question arose in his mind about the ways in which black men rest.

Today’s focus will be on his series ‘Recovery’ which considers how black men rest and relax and take time for themselves.

Moore has stated after his brain surgery and being forced to rest it made him think how historic black men were always portrayed as active and thought of how at the same time despite their activism and struggles they were human.

Moore says, ”So these men took vacations. They took time with their family. They took naps. So I started to think about that and the work presents a question because I don’t have the answer. So how do black men rest? How did they relax, and what does that look like?”

He views how the history of America reflects how black people constantly have to work to just to catch up economically. Despite the fact that the country was built on the labor of African Americans during slavery.

He states, “So that is passed down as far as trying to catch up. You have to work extremely hard. So the idea of resting or relaxing is not a part of the process when you’re always thinking about what do I need to do next.”

His choice of technique the Silver point was used in the 16th and 15th century where the valuable element silver is used to draw. Moore was attracted to this medium for its historical value and the softness of the final result.

“So you’re creating something that has initial value and with the work that I was working on, I’m dealing with the subject matter that people don’t see as valuable.” - Mario Moore

His work combines historical elements drawing parallels to the struggles of the past and how many are still happening and how circular issues become.

For Moore participation is very important in his work, “I think hearing their perspective and hearing their ideas about resting and what that looked like for them was extremely important. I think hearing my dad talk about how he’s worked since he was 16 years old and talking about his perspective was important.

But I think the most important thing that happened after the show was I went into the barbershop and one of the barbers that was in there he told me after seeing my show he literally took a week off work.

And then also hearing that several men, you know after seeing the show, were going outside and crying. You know, which is like like, that that they honestly never thought in this way. So I think those were probably the most important things that happened.”


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